Saturday, August 18, 2007

In a NYT story on the various strategies and tactics of presidential campaigns this cycle, an interesting observation:

All the candidates try to anticipate questions and plot their answers. So when Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama clashed over foreign policy at a recent event — with a comment from him that he would be willing to hold diplomatic talks with the leaders of hostile nations, and one from her that it would be a mistake to do so without preconditions — the dustup was a product of preparation and strategic decisions on both sides.

Mr. Obama was primed for the question: Aides had seen it among the videotaped questions submitted on YouTube to CNN for the debate. Mr. Obama and his advisers did not script an answer beforehand, aides say, but they were all clear that if the question were asked, Mr. Obama would speak about why he would break with the Bush administration’s diplomatic approach.

So it seems as though Obama did know about the "Will you meet with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea?" question in advance. There had been some debate about whether Obama's (unequivocal and seemingly unconditional) "yes" was a prepared answer--and, from this report, it sounds like it was at least somewhat prepared (or at least the question wasn't a complete surprise).